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Weight Plate Exercises To Burn Fat And Add Muscle

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In This Series

Some people think that doing a fat loss workout means slinging the weights around any way you like and racing through your reps because losing fat is about getting your heart rate up.

Those people are wrong.

That is a part of it, but there’s a smarter way to approach your sessions that will both burn fat and add muscle. The key is to slow down your reps and make sure you can feel the target muscle working.

“Time under tension, which means the time your muscles spend working during a set, is important in terms of getting muscle adaptations – even if fat loss is your goal,” says Tirrel Grant, director of Square Mile Fitness (opens in new tab).

“Really focus on contracting the muscle and work both the lifting and lowering parts of the move – don’t just let the weights drop down.”

Performing your reps like that makes the moves much harder, so although you’re moving the weight slowly, the extra effort required to control them will mean that your heart rate will be high and you’ll get the full calorie-burn benefits.

How To Do The Workout

This workout has five moves, with the first two paired to create a superset. Do all the reps of exercise 1A, rest for 10sec, then do all the reps of 1B, then rest for 60sec. Repeat this for four sets, then move on to exercise 2. The final two moves are also performed as a superset. Keep your abslower back and glutes engaged for every rep of every set to keep your body stable and improve power transfer between your upper and lower body.

1A Squat


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Photography: Glen Burrows. Model: Tirrel Grant

Sets 4 Reps 10-12 Rest 10sec

How Bend at the hips and knees with your chest up and your weight on your heels.

Why “This move is great for building muscle in your quads, hams and glutes,” says Grant.

Progression Pause in the bottom position for one second, then squeeze your glutes to get back up.

1B Bent-over row


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Sets 4 Reps 10-12 Rest 60sec

How Bend at the hips and let your arms hang down. Row the weight up to your chest.

Why “Most guys don’t do enough pulling moves. This helps to build balance,” says Grant.

Progression Squeeze your shoulder blades together for one second at the top of the move.

2 Pinch carry


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Sets 4 Distance 30m each side Rest 10sec

How Hold a weight plate between your thumb and fingers and walk for 30m.

Why “Grip, rather than muscle, strength is most people’s limiting factor,” says Grant.

Progression Extend the distance you walk by 10m for each hand.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Ways to Improve Your Grip Strength

3A Halo


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Sets 4 Reps 8-10 Rest 10sec

How Move the weight up and across your body, then over your head and down the other side.

Why “This is great for building rotational strength, which is often ignored,” says Grant.

Progression Doing this explosively, with real power, will recruit the maximum number of muscle fibres.

3B Crunch reach


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Sets 4 Reps 8-10 Rest 60sec

How Lie on your back with your knees bent. Crunch up, keeping your arms straight and vertical.

Why “Adding weight to an abs move means you’ll work in a rep range that adds size,” says Grant.

Progression Increasing the time you take to lower back to the start will make it harder and more effective.

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